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CHP: Palm Desert Duo Hit by Wrong Way Driver on I-10

CHP officials say a driver was going up to 100 mph in the wrong direction on the I-10, and hit the two people as they were passing through Beaumont.

A teen from Palm Desert was hospitalized when he was hit by a driver going the wrong direction on Interstate 10 on Easter Sunday, CHP officials said Tuesday.  Two other people were killed in the crash.

The teen, who was riding in a Lexus sedan with another man, was struck in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday by a man who was speeding on the interstate near the State Route 60 interchange, according to CHP Spokesman Officer Darren Meyer.

According to the agency, the two-vehicle crash occurred on the eastbound 10 at 1:22 a.m. March 31, about four-tenths of a mile east of the Brookside Avenue overcrossing.

23-year-old Francisco Hernandez of Highland, identified as the driver of that wrong-way car, was killed, the coroner's office reported.  Another driver that he struck, 45-year-old Gustavo Sanchez of Beaumont, was also killed, CHP said.

Details Emerge in Collision

The California Highway Patrol tells Patch they began receiving several calls of a wrong-way driver on the interstate shortly before the crash.

"We began getting calls that [Hernandez] was wrong way, driving westbound from the eastbound lanes near Highland Springs Avenue," CHP Spokesman Officer Darren Meyer said.  "Witnesses put him going between 90-100 mph wrong way on the freeway.”

Moments later, when Hernandez– who was driving a white Toyota Scion– got near the 60 freeway interchange, he hit the Lexus and sent it into the center divider, Meyer said.

"Just before Brookside, he sideswiped a Lexus, with two people out of Palm Desert in it," Meyer explained.  "They went into the center divider and had minor injuries."

Charles and Paul Martin, both of Palm Desert, were in that Lexus IS 250, according to CHP reports.  Paul Martin, 18, was hospitalized with minor head injuries.  

23-year-old Charles Martin, who was driving the Lexus, was not hurt, reports indicate.

Debris from that crash then flew up, and hit a semi-truck that was also driving eastbound on Interstate 10, though that driver wasn't injured, according to Meyer.

'Out of Control'

However, the events in the deadly crash didn't stop there.

"The Toyota Scion went out of control when it hit the Lexus," Meyer said.  "That's when it was broadsided by [Sanchez] in a pick-up truck."

Hernandez was killed instantly, and Sanchez died at the scene in the fiery crash, Meyer said.

Meyer added that officials have to wait for toxicology tests to confirm if alcohol or drugs were in Hernandez's system at the time.

It's also believed that the 23-year-old was involved in a "non-contact hit-and-run" prior to this series of crashes on I-10, as Meyer said someone on the interstate had swerved to avoid hitting the Scion and crashed near Highland Springs just prior to the rest of the events unfolding.

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